No doubt using a pad of paper and pencil was a simple illustration given for effect at a presentation to a large number of people. I get it. But the sheer volume of things that such a metaphor ignores or drastically oversimplifies is huge.
Of course, it ignores the *years* of effort that it took to be able to read and write. Without that effort, a pad of paper becomes little more useful than cave paintings. Even overlooking that, though, holding up a pad of paper and pencil as a paragon of user-interface simplicity ignores the real limitations of the medium.
Even the technique of "cut-and-paste" with a physical paper document pushes the limits of actual-paper technology. Where's the spellcheck? How about changing the font or layout of such a document? Anything other than the most simple of editing will require rewriting the entire document. Even storage and retrieval of a paper document is difficult--where did I put that piece of paper with that phone number on it?!?
Computer interfaces are complex because they allow the user to do so much more. The only way to keep that simplicity is to pare down the functionality. The Palm interface is a perfect example of this. It does very, very little, but it does it well.
The idea of "I want it as easy to use as paper, but to do 100 times as much!" is intriguing, but unrealistic.
However, one improvement that could be made would be to at least hide such details as much as possible. Apple and Google do a great job of this: give the user only the bare minimum of options. 95% of users will never try to move beyond this. For the 5% who will, they provide methods for making such changes, but not at the sacrifice of the simplicity of the 95%.
But saying "How come my Internet-enabled multimedia-capable phone/PDA/messaging device isn't as easy to use as a stack of index cards?" not only ignores the complexity of the device, it ignores the complexity of a stack of index cards! :)